Election 2015

Unusual election pledges: Selfie laws, a cannabis summit and 'universal peace'

Composite image showing, clockwise from left, a photograph taken using a "selfie stick", a cannabis joint and a couple meditating on a beach Image copyright Various

Most of us have had as much time as we need to browse the main manifestos of the biggest parties - but there are some more unusual offerings for voters in this election.

There are local parties, very left-wing parties, very right-wing parties, parties called things like World Peace Through Song, various permutations of religious parties and of course a great array of single-issue campaigners.

Fancy something completely different from the mainstream offering? If you live in the right constituency, you could be in luck.

You could peruse the manifesto of Children of the Atom, standing in Shrewsbury & Atcham (click on constituency names for full candidate lists), which it describes as a "radical" and "transformative" set of ideas for a brave new world.

Image copyright Stirling McNeillie
Image caption Stirling McNeillie of Children of the Atom wants to "start from scratch"

It focuses on the creation of debt-free money, a single 10% annual tax on all electronic bank deposits and issued notes and coins, and a universal payment to every citizen for life equal to the average wage.

"Changing the world for the better cannot be achieved with systems that are built for a bygone age and to enrich the few," says leader Stirling McNeillie. "We need to start again from scratch."

Or what about the Humanity party - slogan "love is always the answer" - standing in Derbyshire Dales. It says its policies are a matter for its participants to determine as they feel appropriate, but it does list a set of principles they should adhere to including:

  • Universal peace can only come about through learning to embrace our inner "demons", our shadow behaviour, and then to consciously and collectively choose inner peace
  • Co-operation unites, harmonises and brings people together and is the only way to truly meet our individual and collective needs - unbridled competition separates, divides, and isolates
  • The fulfilment of human needs (physical, emotional, psychological, spiritual, cultural and economic) can only occur in harmonious balance with the environmental needs of the planet

Or there's The New Society of Worth in Preseli Pembrokeshire, which propose email voting on all local and national issues.

It wants to reduce the pensionable age, opposes fracking and asks on its website: "Have you noticed lately there is now a lack of ambulances? This will be changed by TNSW."

Ubuntu, inspired by the South African party of the same name, formed in the UK last year and is standing in Stoke-on-Trent Central and Sutton Coldfield.

Image copyright Paul Toussaint

It says its policies are based on the principles of "contributionism" and it wants to move "from a money-driven society to a society driven by people, their talents and their passion for life".

Manifesto pledges include:

  • Restructure the banking system to "serve the people"
  • Establish a people's bank that "creates money for the people by the people, tax-free"
  • Let scientists and inventors deliver a renewable source of free energy across the UK

"There doesn't have to be money," says Stoke candidate Paul Toussaint. "The system that we've got is favouring the few and making a lot of other people suffer."

'Start a revolution'

Hoi Polloi - sample slogan "the great and the good are not that great and not much good" - wants to "wrestle democracy back from the political class".

Filmmaker Geoff Moseley, standing in Hornsey & Wood Green, is fed up with all politicians, and doesn't even agree with manifesto pledges.

"They're not worth the paper they're written on," he says.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Russell Brand has been talking about revolution, Geoff Moseley is trying to start one

"If manifestos were contracts, we could take governments to court and hold them liable for not fulfilling their stated objectives. But they're not...

"I want a new political era. Russell Brand has been talking about revolution: I'm trying to start one."

It is his first election and he says he will be "lucky to keep my deposit" but hopes to enlarge his party in the future.

"There's a lot of disillusionment out there."

Land, cannabis and population

All a bit much? Rather focus on a single issue?

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Media captionUsing alcohol causes violence and induces crime, unlike cannabis, says a party standing in the general election

Cista, or Cannabis is Safer than Alcohol, is fielding 32 candidates. It describes itself as the first pro-drug reform political party to contest a general election across the UK and its manifesto pledges include:

  • To campaign for a Royal Commission to review UK drugs policy
  • To convene a global medicinal cannabis summit in London in 2015
  • To initiate a review to report on policy innovation in Spain, Portugal, the United States and Uruguay
  • To campaign for a review of the cost-benefits of a legally regulated cannabis market

The Land Party - whose sole candidate Derek Jackson is standing against David Cameron and others in Witney - is, perhaps unsurprisingly, campaigning for all people to have land.

Other policies include:

  • Withdrawal from the European Union with no adoption of the euro
  • Learning self-sufficiency from an early age
  • Support for international freedom of movement.

The Above and Beyond party is fielding five candidates around England and Wales, and its manifesto focuses almost solely on getting a mandatory "none of the above" option on all ballot papers for all UK general elections.

If you're worried about overpopulation, the Population Party is standing in Stretford and Urmston. Its manifesto lists policies in areas like sex education, economic strategy, "family subsidies" and international aid.

"Taking moderate action now to slow and reverse population growth would help the United Kingdom to meet many of the policy changes it faces," says candidate Paul Carson.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Beer and baccy, but no crumpet - Ray Hall renamed his party after the 2013 Eastleigh by-election

Or what about the Beer, Baccy and Scratchings party - which had to change its name from Beer, Baccy and Crumpet after the Electoral Commission deemed it sexist - standing in Eastleigh.

Despite its quirky name, it says it has "serious political objectives" and Mr Hall is an "anti-austerity candidate caring for the interests of lower-income families".

Image copyright Lord Toby Jug
Image caption The Eccentric Party, aka Lord Toby Jug, wants to give people eight hours of "spare time" every day

Among its aims are:

  • More houses, jobs, pension increases and minimum wages
  • To reduce "exorbitant" tax, bank, utility, parking fines and fees, and "unfair" commercial charges

All a bit serious? Well there are some more classically wacky pledges around.

The Eccentric Party of Great Britain's candidate is former Monster Raving Loony Lord Toby Jug. He's standing against Boris Johnson among others - including his former Loony colleague Howling Laud Hope - in Uxbridge & South Ruislip, and has a list of policies including:

  • Vacuuming motorways twice daily "to prevent irritating stone chips hitting your car"
  • Compulsory hospital "clown doctor" appointments (because laughter is the best medicine)
  • Making people read a book for every 10 selfies they take
  • Prescribing eight hours of spare time, eight hours of rest and eight hours of sleep every day
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Media captionAlan Hope on Monster Raving Loony Party election plans

His old mates at the Monster Raving Loony Party have not yet published their 2015 manifesto. But the party has an array of policy proposals on its website. Its 16 candidates are campaigning to:

  • Cancel stamp duty - "stamps are expensive enough so we shouldn't have to pay duty on them"
  • Reduce the national debt by selling the castles back to the French (buyer dismantles)
  • Taxpayers to receive Nectar points from HMRC
  • Make unicorns a protected species

No Monster Raving Loony Party candidate has yet retained their deposit. But it does say governments tend to adopt so many of its ideas that "we're the government's think tank".

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